Ehud Olmert at the Jerusalem Post Conference 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A party led by former prime minister Ehud Olmert that would include former
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, current Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz and Yesh Atid
leader Yair Lapid would win the January 22, 2013 election, a Smith Research
survey carried out exclusively for The Jerusalem Post revealed
The poll, which was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, found that
the party would win 31 seats, four more than Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s
Likud, which would receive 27 mandates. Yisrael Beytenu would come in third with
14 mandates, closely followed by Labor with 12 and Shas with 11.
and Ehud Barak’s Independence Party would not pass the electoral
A separate question found that if former IDF chief-of-staff
Gabi Ashkenazi, who legally cannot run for Knesset until his three-year cooling-
off period ends, was unofficially one of the Center- Left party’s leaders, this
would significantly increase the likelihood of people voting for the
The poll of 500 respondents representing a statistical sample of
the adult Israeli population found that if Olmert and Livni do not run, the
results of the election would be similar to the 2009 race, except that Kadima
would plunge from 28 seats to five, with its mandates going mostly to Labor
headed by Shelly Yacimovich and Lapid’s new Yesh Atid party.
The poll had
a margin of error of 4.5 percent.
Olmert has received very similar
results in polls he initiated to determine whether he should return to politics.
Mofaz reportedly told him in a meeting on Thursday that he would let him take
the top slot if he made a political comeback and he received a similar
commitment from Livni.
Loyalists of Olmert now intend to push Lapid to run with him.
intelligent and I think he knows what he has to do,” said Kadima faction head
Dalia Itzik. “I am not surprised by the poll. I believe the public realizes it
needs a manager to run the country and that Olmert has proved he can help them
sleep at night. All of the politicians who care about Israel and want the
country to be run professionally must put their egos on the side for the better
of the country and I think they will.”
Olmert’s loyalists expressed hope
that if such a mega-party on the Center- Left would run and win more seats than
Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and Shas could join an Olmert-led coalition.
noted that Olmert has kept close ties with Shas’s heads and Yisrael Beytenu
leader Avigdor Liberman, and suggested that Liberman would have a political
interest in ending Netanyahu’s political career.
Channel 10 reported that
Olmert received a ruling from Bar-Ilan University law Prof. Ariel Bendor that he
would legally be permitted to run despite his conviction on a charge of breach
of trust in the Investment Centers affair.
Lapid’s spokeswoman responded
to the poll that he repeatedly said he would run on his own and he does not
intend to change his mind.
Netanyahu’s office and Mofaz’s associates
declined to comment.
As The Jerusalem Post
reported exclusively on
Thursday’s front page, Netanyahu confirmed that he had chosen January 22 as the
date for the election.
The date was designated on a memo circulated by
the Prime Minister’s Office Thursday regarding proposed legislation to dissolve
the Knesset. The bill is expected to be voted on by the Ministerial Committee
for Legislation on Sunday.
Shas and United Torah Judaism may still try to
force a later election date.
Assuming that Election Day remains January
22, parties will have to submit their lists of candidates by December 8.